10 alternative places to go in Bangkok to eat, see & do stuff right now
Your one-stop guide from a fellow Singaporean who knows the ins and outs of Bangkok.
The Thai capital has been under siege the past few days, starting with the devastating attack at Erawan, and subsequently, minor scares in tourist hotspots Sathorn pier and Nana BTS station.
As many Singaporeans contemplate whether to shelve their holiday travel plans to the capital, there are in fact many other places of interest that are worth visiting and on par with the major areas. Who knows, you may find yourself with a new favourite after checking out this list below.
Friday nights at JJ Green
Did you know that a portion of Chatuchak market is open on Friday nights to the public? Stall owners try to get a headstart on their weekend sales from 6pm onwards every Friday, alongside selected food stalls. If you’re lucky, you’d get to eat their famed coconut ice cream for Friday’s supper instead of having to brave the blazing sun and overcrowded tourist traps in the day.
Cool off after shopping at the neighbouring JJ Green, which is walking distance. The park has a line of dive bars fashioned out of old zinc containers, and vendors line the entire acre of the park hawking wares out of vintage Volkswagen vans. If you’re not sure where to go, just follow the crowd.
Talad Rod Fai (Railway Market)
Already a newfound staple with many Singaporean visitors, the market is now in a much more accessible place than its older counterpart in Srinakarin. To go, simply take the MRT or tell the taxi driver than you wish to go to Ratchada Esplanade (pronounced Es-Plah-Nahd). The market is hidden right behind the shopping mall.
Talad Huay Khwang
This night market is great for night owls looking for a very, very late supper or post-clubbing grub. Many food eateries and stalls are open until 4am here. Located in the Huay Khwang-Ratchadapisek area, just tell the taxi driver “Tah-lahd Huay Khwang” and he will know where to stop you. For the religious, the famous Elephant Shrine is located at the front of the market and is purported to be very potent.
Bangkok is full of several community malls in each of its districts, like a low-rise version of Tampines Mall or Parkway Parade. K-Village right at the end of Sukhumvit Soi 26 is especially popular with the Hi-So Thais (High-Society Thais). Weekends are usually more bustling with markets happening every other week, either selling higher quality Thai-made IG shop clothes (the Thai equivalent of Singapore’s blogshops) and accessories, or organic produce. I’ve even seen miniature ponies in makeshift sheds for toddlers to ride around the mall. Bangkok is extremely pet-friendly as well, so people usually bring their dogs for a walk around the malls.
Pop-up markets — Artbox Market, Made By Legacy, Noise Market, TGIF
Locals who have been in Bangkok for a long time may avoid the Siam area because it’s usually crowded and bustling with tourists. Their alternative is to check out BK Magazine Online (the local version of Time-Out) for pop-up markets, which happen every week. Do look out for popular names such as Artbox, hipster convention Made By Legacy, Noise Market or TGIF. Their offerings are usually of much better quality than what you may find in Pratunam or MBK.
Kua Kling Pak Sod
Have you tried Southern Thai food? If you have not, Kua Kling will make you a lifelong convert. This well-kept foodie gem hidden in a small soi in Thonglor is extremely popular with the locals. Try their signature Muu Tod, which literally translates to fried pork. It’s deep fried pork that is tossed in curry leaves, bruised lemongrass and fried to fragrant perfection.
Khua Kling + Pak Sod, 98/1 Thonglor Soi 5, Bangkok, Thailand Phone: 02-185-3977
Suppanniga Eating Room
I abide by one rule when eating here: Try dishes that you wouldn’t usually consider eating, and you will be rewarded handsomely. The food here is delicately prepared, light and very tasty. The fish sauce cabbage is deceptively bare and simple, but packs so much flavour and wok hei. Their stuffed squid soup reminds me of the pong tauhu soup my grandma used to cook when I was much younger. All in all, very nice home-cooked flavours in a comfortable setting.
160/11 Soi 55 (Thonglor) Sukhumvit Sukhumvit Road Klongton Nuer Wattana Bangkok 10110, Thailand Phone: +66 2 714 7508
Ping’s Restaurant Group
This restaurant has a flagship outlet in Asok, and serves up what some online sources call the best fish maw soup in Bangkok. Their prawn vermicelli is also worth a try, and beats many inferior versions in Chinatown, which is widely touted as the original source of all Thai-Chinese food. I first met the owner Khun Jackie at a Singapore Club event, and they cater for quite a number of Embassy events including the most recent SG50 celebration.
137/3 Sukhumvit 21 (Asoke) Rd. Klongtuey-nua Watana, Bangkok 10110. Tel: (02) 661 7860
Shades of Retro
This hidden dive bar in the further end of Thonglor is known for their cocktails and in-house Thai brew, but what really sets this place apart is the nosh it serves up. Try the krapow nueah, which is a beef variation of the fried mince pork basil staple that many Bangkokians eat for lunch everyday. It comes with a perfectly runny sunny side up that bursts with flavour when you bite into the buttery beef.
Directions: Stop at the entrance of Bottoms-up (888 Soi Sukhumvit 55, Sukhumvit Rd., Klongton-nua, Bangkok 10110, Thailand) and walk all the way into the soi of houses on the right side of Bottoms-Up. You will see the bar on your right in less than 2 minutes.
This laid-back and newly opened watering hole is right next to the HOF Art Residency, which houses alternative Thai art and pop culture artefacts. After taking a look, head over to the large cluster of eating and drinking stalls right next to it. While there are many options to try out, one notable mention by local Thai sources is the Spanish tapas and affordable paella.
Directions: Walk down Sukhumvit soi 71 from the main Sukhumvit Road. You will notice Instagram-worthy street art on the wall to your left before you see the actual eating area.